Dork from Ork
I’ve been a confirmed Robin Williams fan since he first came to national attention. Witty, clever, lightning-fast, frequently over the top but with a childlike edge that made it difficult to take offense from his antics.
I’ve been less impressed by his recent motion pictures, particularly the recent “Old Dogs” with John Travolta that has, essentially, no reason for being foisted off on a ticket-buying public. So, it was with renewed hope I heard he was back on the standup comedy circuit and was going to talk about it on the “Charlie Rose” interview show on public television.
The “interview,” if one can consider the mutual admiration society hour of insider-comments, oneupsmanship wisecracks and non-stop celebrity fawning by Rose — punctuated by video clips of old Williams appearances on Rose’s show — was a disaster. But, hope springing eternal as it tends to do, I nevertheless made a mental note to watch the HBO special that Williams recently taped in Washington, DC.
I did. Well, the first 12 minutes, anyway.
After hearing more permutations of the word “fuck” in such a brief time than I thought possible – fuck, fucking (verb), fucking (adjective), fucker, motherfucker, fucked, fuck you, what the fuck, fuck me, get the fuck out (off, up, away, etc.), unfuckingbelievable, fuck off – accompanied by no wit, no humor, no insight and virtually no funny lines, it dawned on me: Robin Williams is finished.
We’ve seen it happen to others with a special comedic quality — Chevy Chase during a brief star arc (“Saturday Night Live” and the “National Lampoon Vacation” flicks) before he became a pathetic caricature of himself comes quickly to mind — and it’s always a bit sad to think about. Nearly as sad as performers who don’t know when to bow gracefully off the stage — perhaps to work in another niche, perhaps to avoid tarnishing an iconic career.
Robin Williams, as we know, never has known when to rein himself in. Pity.